Katsuhiro Otomo (大友 克洋 Ōtomo Katsuhiro, born April 14, 1954) is a Japanese manga artist, film director, and screenwriter. He is best known as the creator of the manga Akira and its anime adaptation. Otomo has also directed several live-action films, such as the 2006 feature film adaptation of the Mushishi manga.
Katsuhiro Otomo was born in Miyagi Prefecture and grew up in Tome-gun. While he was in high school he was fascinated with movies, often taking a three-hour train during school holidays just to see them. In 1973 he graduated high school and left Miyagi, heading to Tokyo with the hopes of becoming a manga artist. In October 4, 1973, he published his first work, a manga adaptation of Prosper Merimee's short novel Mateo Falcone, titled A Gun Report.
In 1979, after writing multiple short-stories for the magazine Action, Otomo created his first science-fiction work, titled Fireball. Although the manga was never completed, it is regarded as a milestone in Otomo's career as it contained many of the same themes he would explore in his later, more successful manga such as Domu. Domu began serialization in January 1980 and ran for two years until completed. In 1983, it was published in book form and would win the Nihon SF Taisho Award, the Japanese equivalent to the Nebula Award.
In 1982, Otomo made his anime debut, working as character designer for the animated film Harmagedon. The next year, Otomo began work on a manga, which would become his most acclaimed and famous work: Akira. It took eight years to complete and would eventually culminate in 2000 pages of artwork. In 1987, Otomo continued working in anime, directing his first animated work for the first time, a segment in Neo Tokyo, which he also wrote. He followed this up with two segments in the anime anthology Robot Carnival.
While the serialization of Akira was taking place, Otomo decided to animate it into a feature film, although the full manga story was yet to be finished. In 1988, the animated film Akira was released.
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